Aug 22, 2010

Gabbar Ki Asli Pasand - Britannia Glucose D

Britannia Glucose D biscuits had employed Sholay's Gabbar Singh to push their product over Parle's Glucose biscuits. Here's that Ad in print. Remember?

How Do Wealthy Indian's invest?

Indians are getting richer. More than 130,000 people now have net worth more than $1 million. So how do these individuals manage their money?

Bulk of it is in stocks, bonds, mutual funds. But they also avail of wealth management and private banking services that allows them to get the following.

1. Structured Products and Notes

Principal protected notes that allows them to protect from the market downturn without sacrificing the entire upturn if the market soars. Typically, for a fee as a percentage of their assets invested, they can get their principal pack if the market tanks or get about 80% of the market upside.

2. Real Estate

They get these by buying assets directly - a risky approach or by participating in pooled investments such as REITs - real estate investment trusts.

3. Asset backed Debt

They buy bonds with dedicated real assets as collateral. These earn them anywhere from 11 - 16 % in interest. Given current 7 % bank deposit interest in India, this is a good deal if you can stomach the risk.

4. Niche investments

Also called passion investments - currently water and renewable energy being on the top of the list.

Many own 5% gold as well. 

So, there you go. How's your portfolio?

Taj Palace - Old Wing reopens

Following the terrostist attacks by Pakistani cowards, and after 21 months of reconstruction and renovation, Mumbai's The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower is ready to reopen its rooms.

Taj Palace Ballroom - Mumbai
Taj Palace Old Wing Passageway
The stately old rooms and hallways of the hotel will reopen for guests on Sunday,said Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group. While most of the hotel reopened less than a month after the attack, the oldest part of the 107-year old hotel – the palace wing which bore the brunt of the fire, water and bullet damage from the battles in its hallways - has been under reconstruction since the fighting started Nov. 26, 2008.

Taj Palace Old  Wing Room
Taj Palace Dolphin Room
Taj Palace Restored to its Old Glory

As a new bonus for guests, some will now be provided with chauffeur-driven Jaguars for transfers to the airport. The Tata Group’s auto arm, Tata Motors Ltd. bought U.K.-based Jaguar and Land Rover for $2.3 billion from Ford Motor Co. in 2008.

Mar 14, 2010

Where Mumbai Worships.

Religion is a big deal in Mumbai and given the city's diversity, each day of the week has its popular temple or dargah, or church. Here are those places.

Balbulnath Temple (Lord Shiva) at Grant Road.

Siddhivinayak Temple (Lord Ganesh), Prabhadevi.

St Michael's Church, Mahim.

Mahalaxmi Temple, Mahalaxmi.

Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai Central

Hanuman and shani Dev Temple across the city.

Mar 9, 2010

Map of Public Hospitals in Mumbai

Mumbai has nearly 14 million residents. Given that size, the number of public hospital beds is woefully inadequate. There are top class private hospitals to complement the public hospitals and that combination just might do the trick.

Feb 10, 2010

Madhubala, Mohamed Rafi Graves Disposed off in Mumbai

The remains of Hindi cinema’s finest stalwarts including Madhubala, Mohammed Rafi, Naushad and Sahir Ludhianvi have been disposed of and their tombs demolished to make space for new bodies. Authorities manning the Juhu Muslim cemetery where they are interred say they were forced to take this step, and that it is in consonance with Islamic law.

The Muslim burial ground located opposite Juhu Garden was a paradise of sorts, given that luminous artistes like Rafi, Madhubala, Naseem Bano, Ludhianvi, Naushad, Ali Sardar Jafri, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Jan Nisar Akhtar, Talat Mahmood and Parveen Babi were interred there.

In a process that began five years ago, the trust that manages the site began to dismantle the 21 tombstones on site and disposed of the bones and skulls without informing their families or seeking their consent. The ground was levelled by filling in truckloads of soil three-feet high to create another layer of graves. The latest celebrity to be buried in Juhu cemetery was Aamir Khan’s father Tahir Hussain on February 3. Laden with flowers, this fresh grave forms the second tier.

“Islamic law or Sharia does not permit the construction of memorials to the dead,’’ says Asgar Ali, president of the Muslim Majlis, which manages the burial ground. “Moreover, there is an acute shortage of space since the Muslim population in the area is expanding and everyone wants to be buried in our graveyard given how clean and high-profile it is. Poet Ali Sardar Jafri lived near Malabar Hill but was brought here.’’

The families of these artistes are outraged that the trustees did not consult them before doing so. Madhubala’s sister Madhur Bhushan says the actor’s memorial was beautifully carved in pure marble and bore ‘aayats’ from the Koran as well as verses dedicated to her memory. “My father spent weeks and months at the graveyard getting artisans to craft it well,’’ she says. “Why did they allow us to construct it then?’’

“We grant NOCs (no-objection certificates), we don’t take them. Once a corpse enters these gates it becomes our property,’’ retorts Asgar Ali. Trust secretary Qayyum Khan adds, “ Every Muslim is equal before God; no concessions can be made for artistes and celebrities. We are forced to turn over the graves each year due to shortage of space.’’

Eknath Solkar

In the 1970s, when Indian cricket was hovering near the top of the world, the image of Eknath Solkar diving for a catch was as firmly embedded in the collective consciousness of a nation as Sunil Gavaskar's straight drive or the skills of India's spin quartet. "We would never have been as effective without Solkar at short leg," Bishan Bedi once said.

Eknath Dhondu Solkar, who died of a heart attack aged 57, was sometimes called the `poor man's Garry Sobers' because he could bat anywhere, and bowl both medium-pace and spin. As a fielder, however, he held his own. When India beat West Indies for the first time ever, at Port of Spain in 1970-71, Solkar equalled the then world record of six catches in a Test.

His 53 catches came at almost two a match, the best ratio among fielders with over 50 catches. He toured the Caribbean and New Zealand in 1975-76 on the strength of his fielding alone, for by then Solkar the bowler had virtually ceased to exist, and as a batsman he was no longer `Mr Dependable'.

So assured were Solkar's hands - he made catches where other fielders might have seen barely a half chance - that, like a Bradman zero, a Solkar miss made the headlines when he was in his prime. His best catch was the running, tumbling effort that ended Clive Lloyd's fiery 163 in a Bangalore Test. "The ball was dipping away from me," he explained.

In the 1972-73 home series against England, he caught 12 batsmen in the first three Tests and needed only three more to equal Syd Gregory's long-standing world record. He dropped Graham Roope in the fourth Test, and didn't get another chance. While Lloyd made 242 in the Mumbai Test two years later, he dropped him early. Towards the end the stress of fielding in the `suicide position' unprotected (no helmet or shin guards) began to tell on him.

The stress in the early days, when he shared a single room with his parents and five siblings, was of a different nature. Solkar's father was a groundsman at the P J Hindu Gymkhana in Bombay. The legendary allrounder Vinoo Mankad first encouraged him to play a more organised game. He was a left-arm spinner and a batsman good enough to lead Indian Schoolboys. Four years later, he made his Test debut against New Zealand.

The `Mr Dependable' tag was earned early. In the first Test of that successful 1970-71 West Indies series, India were 75 for 5 before Solkar's 61 helped Dilip Sardesai add 137. Three Tests later India were 70 for 6 when the same pair put on 186. In the next series, Solkar's 67 helped India win at Lord's.

Solkar will also be remembered for the fact that he dismissed Geoff Boycott four times in 1971, infuriating the English opener with inimitable sledges like "I'll get you, bloody". Boycott was so disoriented by his gentle and wobbly medium-pace that he withdrew from the Tests. Earlier, he had the gumption to tell Garry Sobers to mind his business. "You play your game and I'll play mine," Solkar told Sobers who was trying to needle him.

A resident of Sportsfield, the building that houses many prominent Indian cricketers including Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar and Ravi Shastri, Solkar will be sorely missed in the Mumbai cricket circles where he was a jovial, and sometimes outspoken, presence.

Solkar was 28 when he played the last of his 27 Tests, ending up with 1,068 runs at 25.42. Better counselling may have extended his career, and better planning might have seen him concentrate on batting alone. But 30 years ago cricket teams did not travel with psychologists and other assorted gurus, and a talented player was allowed to wither away.

Sportsfield - Home of famous Indian cricketers

Sportsfield Cooperative Housing Society is the first and only housing society of its kind. Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ajit Wadekar live there.

1700 square yards land on lease for 99 years from the Maharashtra Government kicked off the project to build a apartment complex for sportsmen in 1984. It was completed in 1987. Each floor has two flats - except for the eight and ninth which are occupied by Sunil Gavaskar and Ajit Wadekar. The building loverlooks the Wankhede Stadium and the player can watch the proceedings from their homes.

Jan 20, 2010

Mumbai Metro - D.N. Nagar will be the intersection station

Work on Mumbai Metro is moving at full force. Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line of 11 km will be ready by December 2010 and work will begin soon on 32 km Chrkop-Bandra-Mankhurd line. It will be completed by 2016.

There is a also a plan to create an intersection station at D.N. Nagar. Commuter can switch from one line to another to have seamless connectivity. When the metro stations are located near a suburban railway station, commuters will be able to switch the lines there as well.

Exciting stuff for the commuters, though D.N. Nagar traffic is going to see construction related delays through 2016.

There is also indication of the fare system. Rs 8 for 3km, Rs 10 for 8 km, Rs 12 for 12 km, Rs 14 for 15 km, Rs 18 for 20 km, Rs 20 for 25 km, Rs 24 for 35 km, and Rs 27 for distances beyond.

Jan 18, 2010

Moving Wholesale Market out of South Mumbai

South Mumbai is where business, Government, and commercial and wholesale markets were concentrated. This was a huge boon to the area when the population of the city was manageable. However, the same advantage was a big contributor to the traffic congestion in the city. MMRDA has been relocating wholesale markets from South Mumbai to outside of the Greater Mumbai area - to Thane and Navi Mumbai. Markets for onion, potato, sugar, spices and condiments, dry fruits, iron and steel have already been shifted to Navi Mumbai. Ground Nuts, pulses, edible oil markets is being move to Navi Mumbai along with the fruits and vegetable markets. This will follow the textile markets move to the Bandra-Kurla complex soon.

Jan 16, 2010

Cadell Road in Mumbai

What used to be Cadell Road in Mumbai is now Veer Savarkar Marg. People still refer to the road by Cadell Road.
Who was this person Cadell after whom this road was named? 
Colonel Thomas Cadell was born in Scottish family in 1835. He received his commission as an officer in 1854 and joined 2nd European Bengal Fusiliers. Due to exceptional bravery shown during 1857 Great Mutiny in Delhi he received the Victoria Cross. He further served in military campaigns in India as a captain in 1866 and Major in 1874. From 1878 till 1892, he was Chief Commissioner of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. He died in 1919.
Veer Savarkar whose name succeeded Cadell was an Indian Independence Movement activist. These two men are linked as Savarkar published a document about the Indian rebellian of 1857 under the title - The Indian War of Independence. This document was banned by British Authorities. He was arrested in 1910 in London as a member of India House community. While being transported to Marseilles he escaped and swam ashore only to be turned in to the authorities by French people on shore. He received 50 year sentence and was moved to the Cellular Jain in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Interesting isn't it?

Suresh Bhat and Hridaynath Mangeshkar

Mendichya Panavar Man Ajun Jhulte Ga is a very popular Marathi song. Lata Mangeshkar has sung to the tune by her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar. The poem is by Suresh Bhat. This song set in motion a lifelong friendship between Hridaynath and Suresh Bhat.

When this song was recorded it was very clear that the wordings and tune were all very modern and at the same time referring to such a perennial emotion. Arun Date who is also a singer asked Hridaynath if he has sought permission from Suresh Bhat to provide tune for his poem. He had not. Arun Date warned Hridaynath to expect a visit from Suresh Bhat on this matter.

Suresh Bhat was an imposing personality. Although his right leg was polio stricken, the person was strong and forceful. Hridaynath was concerned.

One day Suresh Bhat did show up at Hridaynath's home. Banging on the door he demanded to meet Hridaynath. When Hridaynath showed up, he asked him one question.

What do they call you at home?

Baal - said Hridaynath.

Then that's what you are to me from now on - said Suresh Bhat with a hug.

He was so moved by the composition.

Their collaboration is legendary. Both Lata and Asha have sung Suresh Bhat poems composed by Hridaynath.

The only times the two would fight would be when Suresh Bhat would insist on reading out his new poems to Hridaynath in his own tunes. This made it difficult for Hridaynath to break out of the orginal tune and compose music. When asked to just deliver the poems without the tunes, Suresh Bhat would drop the papers and storm out.

Suresh Bhat passed away at the age of 71 in 2003. There are still a lot of his gems there waiting to be composed and sung. Suresh Bhat rejuvenated the Marathi language and Hridaynath Mangeshkar made it accessible by creating popular tunes and composition.

A language needs Bhats and Mangeshkars to thrive - not Thackrey who just impose use of Marathi in Mumbai.

Jan 10, 2010

Blue Frog Club

What can you do with the 6000 sq ft of out of business warehouse in the Lower Parel area of Mumbai? If you said turn it into the best immersive live music performance space in the town, then you are on the same wavelength as the owners of the Blue Frog Club. The address of this place is - D/2 Mathuradas Mills Compound, N.M. Joshi Marg, Lower Parel. Phone 91-22-4033-2300.

Since 2007, has been hosting live performances three to four nights of the week ranging from Zakir Hussain, Anoushka Shankar to blue, jazz, latin, and Electronic.

Blue Frog’s menu is created by Executive Chef Mrigank Singh. The style and presentation is Modern European with underlying Asian textures and subtleties. Many dishes on the menu are influenced by Chef Mrigank's experience in Kerala.

There are premium wines, single malts, and spirits. Not to forget about the Sunday brunch with over 50 dishes to choose from. There is also mini Frog - for kids - from noon to 3:30 on Sundays right along with the brunch. Kids practice arts and crafts conjuring up pirates, fairies, and other magical creatures.

All you need to do is to book a pod which is acoustically treated and surrounded by colored lighting which provides total immersive experience of the show.

A grid of mahogany-panelled dining pods occupy these platforms and seat between 4-10 people and they are circular. These maintains uninterrupted views of the stage with a comfortable distance between diners away from the scattered and standing crowds around the bar. A gently undulating, glowing acrylic resin surface over the pods retains the presence of the architecture amidst a state-of-the-art sound and light show at Blue Frog.

The elevated pods are arranged, amphitheater-style, around a large circular floor that can accommodate standing/dancing patrons. The floor also functions as a 360 degree stage for performances requiring an intimate viewing experience. At one end of the floor is a large, raised stage for main performances.

Visual coherence is established by the propagation and repetition of the circular grid as a design language across a host of details, from dimpled acoustic panels on the walls to the back-bar display.